El Chapo 'escaped naked through tunnel under bath'

El Chapo’s former mistress fled with the notorious Mexican drug lord – who was naked – through a tunnel under a bathtub, a court heard.

Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez was testifying against Joaquin Guzman – known as El Chapo (shorty) – at a drug trafficking trial in New York.

Sanchez, 29, a former local politician from El Chapo’s home state of Sinaloa, told of her often risky relationship with the cartel boss as his wife, Emma Coronel Aispuro, sat expressionless in the gallery.

Having already admitted earlier this year to drug charges after her arrest last year, she said she met Guzman, 61, in 2010 and within a year she was visiting his hideouts in Cabo San Lucas and elsewhere for business.

Image: Lucero Guadalupe Sanchez Lopez said she escaped with Guzman through a tunnel under a bath

The pair texted on encrypted mobile phones he gave her and over time they began mixing business with pleasure, which she said caused her distress.

“Until this day, I’m confused because I thought we were in a romantic relationship,” she said before needing to take a break as she burst into tears.

“Sometimes I loved him and sometimes I didn’t,” she added later.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, El Chapo's wife, sat expresionless as his mistress gave her testimony

Image: Emma Coronel Aispuro, El Chapo’s wife, sat expresionless as his mistress gave her testimony

She said it started to get bad when El Chapo got Sanchez to buy marijuana for him, with instructions to get 400kg for each plane to transport it from the countryside.

Texts intercepted showed the pair calling each other “love” as they plotted the drugs shift were shown to the jury – although some messages from El Chapo sounded more menacing.

The petite and softly spoken Sanchez said she would sometimes sweet talk him “so he didn’t think I would rat him out… I thought he could hurt me”.

At the end of 2012 the relationship began to sour but “seemed like it would never end,” she said.

He then invited her to a safe house in the city of Culiacan in 2014 so she immediately accepted.

A team of Mexican marines were hunting for him then so he was moving between safehouses and when she went to meet him, she spent the night with him before one of his assistants said: “They’re on us.”

El Chapo arriving in the US in 2017 after his extradition to Mexico 0:54

Video: The trial of Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman

El Chapo took her to a bathroom where the bath was lifted with hydraulics to expose a fortified trap door at the entrance of a sewage tunnel which led to a more remote part of the city.

She said El Chapo “was naked. He took off running. He left us behind”.

When asked how long she was in the tunnel, she said: “Long enough to be traumatised.”

Shortly after she claims she lost him in the tunnel, El Chapo was captured at a hotel in the resort town of Mazatlan with his wife and young twin daughters.

Earlier on Thursday, a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent, who was there, revealed how the marines could not believe they had caught Mexico’s most wanted.

“Is it him? Is it him?” DEA agent Victor Vazquez said the soldiers kept asking him.

He said he then looked at Guzman quizically and said: “It’s you.”

El Chapo paid $100m bribe to Mexico's former president, claims trial witness

El Chapo paid $100m bribe to Mexico’s former president, claims trial witness

The president’s former chief of staff dismisses the claims and says Mr Pena Nieto helped bring El Chapo to justice

El Chapo was extradited to the US in 2017 to face charges of trafficking cocaine, heroin and other drugs as head of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.

He famously broke out of jail twice, including in 2015 when he escaped through a mile-long tunnel that had been dug to his cell.

The president personally announced the news of his recapture in January 2016.

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Guzman’s trial in the US is being held under extremely tight security amid fears of another potential escape plot and intimidation of witnesses and officials.

His lawyers say any allegations have been fabricated by those seeking leniency in their own cases.

Trump cancels Pelosi trip and Davos delegation over shutdown

Donald Trump has cancelled a proposed overseas trip by his Democratic opponent Nancy Pelosi, and scrapped administration officials’ travel to the World Economic Forum over the US government shutdown.

In an apparent tit-for-tat move over the shutdown, the president told Ms Pelosi in a letter that her weekend visit to Belgium, Egypt and Afghanistan would not go ahead – a day after she called on him to postpone his annual State of the Union address.

And just as Ms Pelosi, the Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives, put her request down to the impact of the partial government shutdown, so Mr Trump said the cancellation was “due to the shutdown”.

The speaker would normally use a military plane for such a trip and the president appeared to be acting in his capacity as commander in chief.

Donald Trump urged to delay State of the Union

Nancy Pelosi’s letter comes as the White House tries to persuade moderate democrats to vote for border wall funding

This was confirmed by his spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who explained “he postponed her ability to use military air”, something that must be approved by the Department of Defence.

“Due to the shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan has been postponed,” Mr Trump’s letter said, calling it a “public relations event”.

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, holds the gavel after she is voted in

Image: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is refusing to back plans for a southern border wall

He said she could make the trip by taking a commercial flight, but the security implications of a senior politician heading to a war zone without suitable protection make that unthinkable.

Ms Pelosi has become a thorn in the president’s side since Congress resumed earlier this month.

With the Democrats now holding power in the House, she has blocked Mr Trump’s demand for $5.7bn (£4.3bn) to build a southern border wall.

Divided States

Divided States

The United States is more divided than it has been for decades with a widening the gap between the two parties

He, in turn, has refused to sign off on government funding, leading to some 800,000 federal employees being off work since 22 December in the longest shutdown in US history.

The president may also have inadvertently revealed she was visiting Egypt, since it was not on the itinerary.

The weekend trip, which Mr Trump called a “public relations event,” had not been announced before he released his letter.

Presidents traditionally deliver the nationally televised annual State Of The Nation address, which lays out the administration’s goals for the year, in the House of Representatives.

Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani: 'We never said there was no collusion' with Russia

Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani: ‘We never said there was no collusion’ with Russia

The president’s lawyer has contradicted him in an interview, saying they have not claimed they did not work with Russia in 2016

In a move that appeared aimed at heading off Democratic criticism about non-essential administration travel during the shutdown, the White House announced the cancellation of a trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and others.

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Ms Sanders said in a statement that the decision was made “out of consideration for the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay”.

Mr Trump had earlier pulled out of attending the forum because of the shutdown.

Domestic violence shelter pushed to the limit by US shutdown

In a corner of West Virginia, the government shutdown is hitting hard.

The political impasse in Washington means that a domestic violence shelter here is about to lose access to the federal funding it so desperately relies on.

The shelter provides refuge for women and children fleeing dangerous situations from across the country.

Katie Spriggs, executive director of the Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Centre, said her agency can no longer afford to provide any financial support to its clients.

Image: Katie Spriggs, director of the centre, is worried people on the waiting list will remain in a violent situation

She told Sky News: “I’m concerned that we will have to lay off staff. I’m concerned that this money freeze will go on for months.

“I’m concerned that the 22 people we have here are never going to be able to transition out and then we have 27 people on our waiting list.

“So then those people will remain in a violent situation because we can’t fit them in here and there’s really no other sheltering options.”

She explained that they would normally spend about $260 (£200) on groceries a week.

But with the gridlock now reaching into its 28th day, the longest in US history, they have started rationing.

The shelter is running out of money during the shutdown

Image: The shelter is running out of money during the shutdown

Last week, they only had enough for $26 (£20) worth of food. There are babies and toddlers running around and not enough nappies to go around.

Sarah, not her real name, 49, said she fled a violent partner in another state.

She said she finally scraped about $650 (£500) together to move into her own home.

In December, staff at the shelter offered to cover her security deposit, using a special fund for emergency client expenses.

But now they do not have that money to give and Sarah is stuck.

In answer to what that will mean for her, she replied frankly: “I’ll probably end up on the street. I’ve done half my time in here already. I may end up sleeping in my car.”

It can take many attempts before a woman finally manages to leave a violent relationship.

After plucking up the courage to go and making a detailed escape plan, Sarah is in limbo.

“The poor always get the brunt of everything,” she said.

And yet like so many in this country, she seems resigned to the political system that got them here.

Shutdown stories: Hunger, bills and woes for US workers

Shutdown stories: Hunger, bills and woes for US workers

She doesn’t blame President Trump either.

“Politics is just a show and tell – opposite wings of the same bird. It’s all a game,” she said.

As the staff at the shelter discussed potential layoffs in between fielding calls, Donald Trump was doing his own bit of shutdown management – cancelling the opposition House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan.

It looked like swift retaliation for her arguably provocative suggestion that he cancel his State of the Union speech.

The normal political pressure points that end these standoffs are not kicking in yet. Mr Trump believes he is in the right and Democrats are refusing to cave.

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As they lock horns, it is those outside the beltway bubble taking the hit.

But the financial outlook is looking increasingly grim and if it goes on much longer, the president may have to decide between two of his key election promises: building a wall and making the economy thrive.

Body of newborn baby girl found in toilets at Amazon warehouse

A newborn baby girl has been found dead in a rubbish bin in a women’s toilet at an Amazon warehouse.

Firefighters and paramedics were called to the facility in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday evening.

Detectives have located and contacted the mother, but police have not said whether she is an Amazon employee – and her identity has not been revealed.

Sergeant Vince Lewis said the baby was found on Wednesday evening – adding that an investigation is under way.

Amazon described the incident as “terribly sad and tragic”, and said it is supporting the police with their enquiries.

The massive distribution centre on the city’s southwest side is one of several Amazon sites in Phoenix.

Under Arizona law, mothers can anonymously leave unharmed newborns at designated “safe haven” locations including hospitals, ambulances, churches, on-duty fire stations and adoption agencies.

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The baby must be under 72 hours old and given to a person.

Passed in 2001, the law adds that mothers who follow these instructions will not face prosecution.

'Europe needs change': Berlusconi running for EU Parliament

Silvio Berlusconi has thrown himself back into politics and will run in May’s European Parliament elections after a court lifted a ban last year.

The 82-year-old former Italian prime minister said he was standing as a candidate for his centre-right Forza Italia party in Sardinia.

He told supporters on the Mediterranean island: “At my ripe old age, I have decided out of a sense of responsibility to go to Europe, which lacks a deep world vision.”

He said he wanted to “bring my voice to a Europe that should change, a Europe that has lost profound thinking about the world”.

Mr Berlusconi, who has made comebacks before from legal woes, personal scandals, heart trouble and political setbacks, was barred from running for public office for almost five years following a 2013 tax fraud conviction.

But last year, a court ruled he could run again, citing his good conduct.

The media tycoon’s political career was thought to be over when he left power amid national disgrace and a sovereign debt crisis in 2011.

But the politician’s Forza Italia party, which has dominated Italian politics for 25 years, is now polling in single digits behind the League and the 5-Star Movement.

Mr Berlusconi said he wanted to stand in order to fight 5-Star, which has formed a coalition government with the billionaire businessman’s traditional ally, the League.

“We need to change this government, which includes the 5-Star Movement that is led by people who have no experience and are incompetent,” he said.

“The alliance (with the League) is not natural and I do not think it will last long,” he added.

Mr Berlusconi campaigned for Forza in last March’s national election but said his inability to stand as a candidate hurt its chances.

Italy’s longest-serving post-war premier, said in 2018: “I have fought back against all the nastiness, all the attacks, all the lies that were thrown at me, from the Bunga Bunga to the minors and all the rest.”

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In a translated tweet on Thursday, he wrote: “I announce that I have decided to introduce myself to the Europeans to bring my voice to a Europe that must be changed.

“The united right-centre is a winner: with its values ​​and its ideals, it is the future of Italy, Europe and the world.”

Heavy snow traps dozens of nuns in Alpine monastery

Dozens of Catholic nuns have been cut off from the world for days after heavy snowfall left them trapped in their Alpine monastery.

Authorities in Austria have deployed heavy equipment to clear the snow and fallen trees that were blocking roads to the Marienparadies cloister, which is run by the Sisters of Bethlehem order.

Despite the wintry weather, the nuns are in “good spirits” and wish to stay put because they have enough food and fuel.

The cloister, which lies about 30 miles south of Salzburg, is home to 30 nuns and one priest.

According to Austrian media, Sister Laure-Marie said the nuns had considered leaving – but “since the sun returned and the road will be clear again soon, we are very, very grateful we’re allowed to remain with God”.

Manfred Brugger, the mayor of nearby St Veit im Pongau, said: “It is important for them that they have a connection to us in the valley.”

Image: Four tourists were buried in an avalanche in Norway

Several European countries have been inundated with snow over recent weeks – with warmer weather subsequently increasing the risk of avalanches in parts of southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

In Norway, rescuers searching for four skiers swept away in an avalanche more than two weeks ago have recovered three victims.

The bodies have been flown by helicopter down to a valley where they will be transported to the city of Tromsoe – and police said the search for the last victim is continuing.

Officials say a large avalanche has slammed into a hotel in southern Germany, damaging the building but causing no injuries. 0:37

Video: Huge avalanche in southern Germany

The wintry weather across the continent has grounded flights – and forced schools and holiday resorts to close.

Last week, scores of people were injured when a 300m-wide avalanche hit the Santis hotel in Schwaegalp in Switzerland.

An image taken from inside the hotel showed the snow had crashed into the restaurant and buried more than 25 vehicles, including a coach, in the car park.

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An avalanche hit the Santis hotel in Schwaegalp in Switzerland

Image: An avalanche hit the Santis hotel in Schwaegalp in Switzerland

Forecasters have warned that towns and cities across the UK could see temperatures fall below freezing in the early hours of Friday morning, while snow-covered areas of northern Scotland could see temperatures dipping as low as -12C (10.4F)

Widespread frost and ice is also expected to hit many parts of the country.

Giuliani: 'We never said there was no Russia collusion'

Donald Trump’s lawyer claims he “never said there was no collusion” between Russia and members of the president’s 2016 campaign.

The comments, made by Rudy Giuliani on CNN, directly contradict his client, who has repeatedly said there was “no collusion”.

Mr Giuliani said the idea of Russia collusion was “total fake news”.

He said there is “not a single bit of evidence” tying Mr Trump to Russian influence, even if someone else in the campaign did something wrong.

He said: “There is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC.”

Image: The comment contradicts Donald Trump, who has repeatedly said there was no collusion

The comments came after Mr Giuliani was asked about court papers which revealed Paul Manafort, a former campaign chairman, had shared polling data with an associate the US has tied to Russian intelligence.

It is not clear if Mr Giuliani was reflecting a new position from the Trump legal team or making a strategic attempt to get ahead of what could be damaging findings from the investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr Mueller has charged 33 people, including five associates of Mr Trump and 32 Russians accused of interfering in the election either through hacking or in a hidden social media campaign aimed at swaying the opinion of the US public.

Mr Giuliani said the Trump legal team has told Mr Mueller the president will not answer any additional questions from prosecutors.

He has so far only answered a limited number of questions, and in writing.

The president’s lawyers have refused to allow Mr Trump to be interviewed face-to-face or be questioned about potential obstruction of justice or actions he took as president.

The Mueller probe: What's it all about and who's being investigated?

The Mueller probe: What’s it all about and who’s being investigated?

Last month, Mr Giuliani told Fox News that any interview would only happen “over my dead body“.

He added: “But, you know, I could be dead.”

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Mr Mueller, a former FBI director, is investigating alleged ties between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

He is reportedly interested in interviewing the president as part of the inquiry.

Man charged with stealing £5.6m Swedish royal jewels

A man has been charged with stealing £5.6m of royal treasures from a cathedral in Sweden where they were on display.

The two crowns and an orb, used for the funerals of King Karl IX and Queen Kristina, have not been recovered police investigator Filippo Bassini said.

The items are worth 65 million kronor in Swedish currency.

Mr Bassini said they believe two men stole the artefacts, which date back to 1611 and were made for royal funerals.

They were stolen on 31 July from an alarmed display after thieves smashed the glass at a 900-year-old cathedral in the city of Strangnas.

They then apparently fled by motorboat via the vast system of lakes west of the capital Stockholm.

Police helicopters were scrambled but the suspects were not caught.

Image: The thieves got away on a boat after the theft

A 22-year-old has been charged over the theft.

Another has been detained but not charged.

The stolen artefacts are so-called funeral regalia, which are placed inside or on top of a coffin to symbolise a deceased royal’s identity and social ranking.

While some funeral regalia are kept in the cathedrals of Strangnas, Uppsala and Vasteras, the vast majority of Sweden’s crown jewels are in vaults under the Royal Castle in Stockholm.

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Thomas Agnevik, a police spokesperson, said after the theft: “I have talked to someone at the county administrative board that says it is not possible to put an economic value on them – these are invaluable objects of national interest.”

No date for a trial has been announced.

Snoop Dogg invests in £2bn Swedish fintech firm

US rapper Snoop Dogg has bought a stake in financial technology company Klarna Bank.

The Swedish start-up, which was valued at $2.5bn (£2bn) in 2015, confirmed reports of the investment but would not comment on the size of it.

“I’ve endorsed them, advised them, and now I’m looking to invest in them. I plan to keep growing the portfolio, ya dig?” Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, was quoted as saying.

The rapper, who has appeared in a YouTube video for the company, bought the stake through his investment firm Casa Verde Capital, which mostly invests in cannabis-related businesses, such as marjiuana delivery service Dutchie.

In the video, the 47-year old rapper is referred to as Smoooth Dogg for the purposes of Klarna’s marketing campaign.

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The firm, which says it is one of Europe’s largest banks, was founded in Sweden in 2015 and has expanded to 14 countries.

It enables consumers to buy goods and services through various finance options and is used by 100,000 merchants.

Facebook removes pages linked to Russian news agency

Facebook has removed 364 pages and accounts linked to employees of Russian news agency Sputnik from its platform.

The social network’s head of cyber security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said in a blog post it had uncovered two separate operations which originated in Russia, with one active in multiple countries in eastern Europe and the other specific to Ukraine.

The pages and accounts were run by the first Russian network and operated in Baltic Sea states, central Asia, the Caucasus and central and eastern Europe.

Facebook said some of the accounts regularly posted about “anti-Nato sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption”.

Based on a tip from US law enforcement, Facebook said it had separately removed 107 pages, groups and accounts and 41 Instagram accounts that originated in Russia and operated in Ukraine.

In a statement, it said: “We didn’t find any links between these operations, but they used similar tactics by creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they were and what they were doing.”

The people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action

Nathaniel Gleicher

The social media website said the two operations engaged in “inauthentic behaviour” on Facebook and Instagram and tried to “manipulate people”.

Facebook has faced strong criticism in the past two years for the slow rate of development in tools to combat extremist content and propaganda on its platforms.

It and rival social media site Twitter took down millions of posts and closed accounts linked to influence operations by Russia, Iran and other nations in the run-up to the US mid-term elections in November last year.

Mr Gleicher said: “We’re taking down these pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they post.

“In these cases, the people behind this activity co-ordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis for our action.”

Past investigations in the US found that Russia had used Facebook to post material aiming to influence and interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

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Facebook removed more than 100 accounts a day before the US midterm elections in November last year as it believed they were linked to “foreign entities”.

It also removed more than 80 pages, groups and accounts the month before, claiming they were linked to Iran.